My own timid excursion into XML was made for two reasons:
- Tied hashes between two systems (e.g. my hosted website
and my local mirror) can be incompatible, depending on the db
- Tied hashes normally encompass only one level. Hashes
containing arrays and other hashes can be cumbersome to
What I was hoping to achieve was a portable, readable file
capable of containing a complex Perl data structure, that I
could slurp into memory, manipulate, and write back out.
XML::Simple is the putative answer to these goals. It was
pretty simple, but not brain-dead simple. Some of the arrays
embedded in my hash have only one element. Apparently XML,
by itself, is unable to distinguish between a single-element
array and a scalar, so there is no a priori one-to-one
correspondence between plain XML and a Perl data structure.
XML::Simple gives you a way to force certain elements to be
arrays when the XML file is read, but this amount of finagling
was contrary to my objectives.
Would I use XML again? Probably not as a general-purpose
embodiment of a Perl data structure. For that, I would look
around for another format, another module -- or write my
own. But my mind is still open for other applications. With
this much smoke and heat, there's gotta be a fire somewhere!
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